Opening the KHQA Vault: Celebrating 60 years

Home destroyed in Lewistown, Mo. on June 26, 2011.

KHQA is celebrating 60 years of broadcasting in 2013. In celebration of this milestone we are opening our vault and taking a look at how it all started.

In September of 1953, KHQA made its mark on broadcast television, hitting the airwaves with its first newscast. All local programs where live and in black and white.

KHQA calls home

Since the early days of television, KHQA has called three places home.

The first one was located in Hannibal, Missouri. The studio was built off Palmyra Road.

For several decades KHQA's news was broadcasted out of Missouri.

The studio was then moved to Quincy, KHQA's second home. KHQA took over several floors of the WCU building on Maine Street in downtown Quincy.

The need for more space lead KHQA to build a brand to building in 1998 on the east side of Quincy. The new studio is on South 36th Street, where KHQA has called home for the past 15 years.

All month long we will be opening the KHQA Vault and looking back at the past 60 years.

Cactus Jim and The Cactus Club

Cactus Jim and his show

The Cactus Club

had kids rushing home from school to catch a glimpse of his friendly face.

"They asked me to do a kiddy program and so I put on a chambray shirt and a pair of Levis and a stump that the Quincy Road crew discarded and took it to the studio" Dick Moore who was Cactus Jim says.

For the first show, Cactus Jim brought his barbers' kids on the show. That started the tradition of area kids joining him everyday.

Early on, Prairie Farms Dairy became the show's sponsor, even letting kids drink milk from cartons on air.

Watching Cactus Jim, you might have noticed he had a guitar, but never played it.

Dick Moore or Cactus Jim said, "They tried to get me guitar lessons ... but if you had ever heard me sing, you know I can't carry a tune in a bucket. So I turned the guitar over and thumped on it and told stories".

The Cactus Jim show included cartoons like Speedy West and the Roadside Rag, and western shows ... not to mention games and stories.

Unfortunately, episodes of Cactus Jim and The Cactus Club were not saved as recordings, but everyone still has the memories.

Twenty years of severe weather

The Great Flood of 1993 didn't just begin overnight.

The fall rains and heavy winter snowfall were followed in the spring of 1993 with similar weather patterns.

Quincy had 152 days of flooding that year, while Hannibal had 174 days.

A levee break in West Quincy helped escalate the issue of flooding that year. James Scott has spent most of the past 20 years serving a life sentence for intentionally breaking the West Quincy levee on July 16, 1993.

Click here

to read more.

Jump ahead 10 years to May 2003, a tornado went through Canton, Missouri just hours after graduation causing damage to homes, Culver Stockton College and the local grocery.

Just across the Mississippi River in Illinois, the tornado nearly wiped out the entire town of Lima.

Mother nature really had fun in 2011. That's when a major winter storm dropped 28 point 8 inches of snow on the area over two days.

Towns shut down, roads closed, people where snowed in for days.

Click here

to read the chain of events that happened starting on Feb. 1, 2011.

This was really the first weather event that KHQA viewers took to social media to communicate with us.

Click here

to see one of the many Facebook threads that came of the severe weather. Many of the photos came in from our viewers on Facebook and Twitter.

Just 4 months later, severe weather caused major damage in Quincy and surrounding towns on June 26, 2011.

Straight line winds uprooted trees, took down powers lines and damaged homes.

Click here

to read about the aftermath of the wind storm. KHQA staff took time to recount the storm damage, read that story



It was more the a week before all the power to homes and business was restored.

KHQA Magazine

Before there was email, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, KHQA published a magazine for its viewers.

This magazine came out several times during the year.

It featured articles from your favorite TV personalities, on topics ranging from how to plant your garden to getting your home ready for winter.

Often the magazine would feature a favorite recipe, childhood story or family photo of your favorite KHQA personality.

It allowed the viewers a look into the lives of the people they watched on television everyday.

The magazine also offered advertising for local businesses and gave the viewer a chance to win prizes.

Remember Watch and Win? that was a popular sweepstakes offered with the magazine. Thousands of dollars in prizes where given to viewers.

What's your favorite KHQA memory from the past 60 years? Share your memories with us on our Facebook page here.